Seinfeld, the Heckle Therapist

How does Seinfeld handle hecklers? He turns into the Heckle Therapist:

Very early on in my career, I hit upon this idea of being the Heckle Therapist.. So that when people would say something nasty, I would immediately become very sympathetic to them and try to help them with their problem and try to work out what was upsetting them, and try to be very understanding with their anger.. It opened up this whole fun avenue for me as a comedian, and no one had ever seen that before.. Some of my comedian friends used to call me - what did they say? - that I would counsel the heckler instead of fighting them.. Instead of fighting them, I would say "You seem so upset, and I know that's not what you wanted to have happen tonight.. Let's talk about your problem" and the audience would find it funny and it would really discombobulate the heckler too, because I wouldn't go against them, I would take their side.

Reminds me of Paul F. Tompkins' advice on dealing with hecklers: "It's worth talking to hecklers to see if they are just goons who are trying to ruin your set or if they are just enthusiastic folks who want to get in on the fun."

Seinfeld's quote is from his recent AMA at Reddit. Another interesting bit is how he claims the show Seinfeld wasn't actually about nothing.

Yeah, I'm always annoyed by people who describe Seinfeld as a show about nothing.. Even in the later years when you guys strayed from the "how a comedian gets his material" formula, it was still about social faux pas and ridiculous social customs.

Seinfeld: FINALLY I have met someone that understands the show.. Thank you for your rare and perceptive analysis.

Here's a good summary of other interesting bits from it.

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